La Catrina: Day of the Dead icon in Mexican culture

06/01/2021

To talk about La Catrina, we must necessarily mention José Guadalupe Posada and Diego Rivera; two great characters who made "La Calavera Garbancera", as it was originally called, famous worldwide.

José Guadalupe Posada worked tirelessly in the press directed to the peasants. He was always critical regarding the inequality and social injustice in that Porfirian society, where he described the Mexican people with originality through drawings, illustrations, and caricatures. This is how he portrayed the beliefs and daily life of popular groups, criticizing the government's abuse with a sense of humor and great drama.

Thus, he created "La Calavera Garbancera", named after the chickpea producers of that time, who were of indigenous blood and elegant clothing, pretending to be European.

In spite of his vast work and variety, Posada was not recognized until after his death, specifically by Diego Rivera, who described his work as true popular art, giving it great diffusion.

During the Porfiriato era, that well-dressed and elegant character emerged, generally accompanied by a lady with the same characteristics, called "catrin".

From that moment on, the famous muralist Rivera, coupled "La Calavera Garbancera", dressing her up elegantly, in "La Catrina" and embodying her in his work "Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central", not knowing she would become the icon of the Day of the Dead in Mexican culture.

Currently, celebrating the Day of the Dead in Mexico would not be the same without "La Catrina", who at 121 years old still looks elegant, drinks pulque, stars the festivities, and is more "alive" than ever in Mexican traditions.

And remember that... "Death is democratic, because in the end, whether you are güera, morena, rich or poor, all people end up being calavera" - José Guadalupe Posada.